Home Science Environmental news Experts call for collective efforts to boost Africa’s nature conservation

Experts call for collective efforts to boost Africa’s nature conservation

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Environment Ankasa Conservation
Environment Ankasa Conservation

While ongoing conservation efforts have yielded positive results in Africa, more can be done to prevent bad practices affecting nature conservation on the continent, experts have said.

In separate interviews with Xinhua on the sidelines of Business of Conservation Conference held in Kigali, the capital of Rwanda, last week, some experts said everybody should play a role in conservation, not just governments or private sectors.

“Inclusion of all non-state actors even at the individual level in climate action is very important,” said Bogolo Kenewendo, a United Nations climate change special advisor.

Kenewendo, a former investment minister of Botswana, said it is important for the private sector players to recognize that they are part of an ecosystem and engage other stakeholders that are supportive of the natural ecosystem, particularly communities and governments.

“There is a lot more to be done creating an enabling environment for citizens to play more roles in the development of wildlife economy,” she said.
Jes Gruner, the African Parks regional operations manager for Rwanda and Malawi, said the involvement of private investors in promoting tourism can improve conservation which leads to the development of communities.

The experts underlined that nature-based tourism holds tremendous prospects for creating jobs to spur economic growth on the continent.

According to them, innovative actions are needed to mobilize more resources, beyond the government budget, while enhancing private sector participation to protect natural assets and develop appropriate infrastructure.

“The role of the private sector is very crucial for the development of conservation. Conservation development cannot be done by conservationists alone, it needs to be a collective effort from the public and the private sector as well,” said Belise Kariza, African Wildlife Foundation Rwanda Country Director.

The experts also stressed the importance of a strong political will to drive conservation development. “In Rwanda’s case, a revenue share program is an incredible way to show that the government is behind conservation development,” said Kariza.

Under Rwanda’s revenue share program introduced by the government in 2005, some 10 percent of all park revenue is returned to the communities surrounding the various national parks aimed at improving livelihoods.

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